Thursday, 26 April 2012

April Incidents

Ring Ouzel showing those silvery wings

Back when it was hot, well warm. For a day.

Well its just incident after incident of late, the ones where you have to write a report, and by report I mean gripping yarns played out across my notebook as today (exactly 1 week since the last fall) we once again experienced the sweet taste of visible migration! From Moorhens to Wryneck's its been white knuckle this past week, and thats just the temperatures.

Purple Sandpipers getting ready for the big blow

Another low pressure whipping air up from the near continent brought good numbers of terns to inland areas, but it was all about the passerines here in the North Sea.

Classic Farnes birding..always check the buildings!

I wont bore you with totals but will with a brief account. The day started slow, as most fall days here seem to. Although an arrival of thrushes and Robins was evident along with the appearance of the first Redstart of the year showed potential. But by late morning things picked up considerably with 2 Ring Ouzel passing through along with a smart male Redstart materializing. Robins numbers peaked with 4 Blackcap, 5 Willow Warbler and 2 Chiffchaff while Wheatear hit 6 and a late Redwing and Fieldfare juxtaposed the spring birds. The final flurry of arrivals happened at 2pm, capped by a Wryneck nonchalantly hopping around the Veg Patch (in the same field of view as 2 Redstarts, 2 Blackcap, 1 Willow Warbler, 6 Robins and a Moorhen - big up the Farnes!).

Wryneck semi-pic. Well I had a semi...

I love Redstarts.

Willow Warbler feeding on bare earth, increase the grip (no pun intended)

Female Redstart looking rare (note side-kick Robin)

A late Fieldfare represented the temperature brought by gale force ENE winds.

So besides this recent fall, a steady procession of bird has graced Inner Farne of late including a mega-rare Moorhen hanging out in our Veg Patch and adjoining Shag colony.

Now there's a combo you don't see everyday!

Willow Warbler when it was sunny...(nb Robin in background, they're everywhere!)

No bramble so a wall will do for this female Blackcap

A day spent trying to get a decent pic of one of last weeks Ring Ouzel resulted in this.

Thrush/chat combo a la Farnes

Just after the fall of last Thursday subsides, a smart male Black Redstart turns up!

Bye bye Ring Ouzels...

Chick! Mallard to be exact.

Alibaba Wagtail.

Speak soon.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Going Loco(stella)

Kittiwake rainbow. Oxymoron.

Coorrrr. Phew. Maaaah. Iiiish. Etc. What a week or however long its been. Ups and downs in every aspect. Wind, seas, temperatures, visitor numbers and all importantly BIRD numbers haha.

So in a nutshell the past week has seen us closed for 5 out of the last 7 days, 3 days due to stormy Northerlies, 1 day for Southerly gales and today, due to brisk Easterlies and rain. These latter conditions deposited a spectacular early spring fall that most birders dream of. We lived (and live) it!

Whats at the end of the rainbow? Inner Farne! And loads of birds!

Today brought great diversity and numbers of birds including 42 Robin, 4 Wheatear, 1 Ring Ouzel, 2 Blackbird, 8 Song Thrush, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, 3 Rook, 2 Brambling and 1 Lesser Redpoll. A classic day where birds were watched dropping out of the sky and one dead stick headge held 20 Robin, 2 Blackcap and a Grasshopper Warbler. Amazing. Here’s some photos:

Zoothera style Ring Ouzel photo.

Lesser Redpoll adding to our biodiversity.

This is whats its about! Grasshopper Warbler chilling out under one of our benches1

Sick. I go loco over these!

Corking Wheatear.

Ring Ouzel trying to avoid my elongated lens..

Classice Farnes...Willow Warbler (or Wallblers haha).

Rooks flying over being rare.

Robins everywhere!

Otherwise despite (or perhaps due to) the unsettled conditions, grounded migranst have been sparse. Yesterday saw a Hooded Crow pass west while a 1st year Med Gull brought quality to the evening roost, which a couple of days ago held a stonking 418 Common Gull! 

This male Blackcap trapped himself in our Info Centre in strong Southerly winds, and seemed pretty shell-shocked at his situation!

But he perked up once the sun came out giving classic Farnes views!

On the same day this female Blackcap also turned up and acted totally rare1

Non-passerine action in serrator form..(Red-breasted Merganser)

The black (and grey) speck is a Hooded Crow I promise!

Sandwich Terns with part of the Common Gull superflock.

Knock knack Chiffchaff let me in!

This female Reed Bunting was nice.

The breeders have been getting hammered by all these winds, but some brief favourable blows brought our first Arctic Terns while the first Eider nests are also appearing, its all gearing up!

Big waves hitting the cliff nesters.

The sexiest auk...the Razorbill.

Kittiwakes loving life in the wind.

Guillemot eggs are becoming slowly commoner.

Eiders are back on the land.

The price of cliff nesting:

Avian vibes have been very positive but the leppers (that is, moths) have been getting down also. One of the noctuid (a larger type of moth) pupa I collected from a dry stone wall on Inner Farne hatched the other day, revealing a spanking Angle Shades. Great moth, and of course definitive proof of breeding which just shows you that records can lie as this species was only recorded twice last year and was presumed an immigrant….how wrong I was!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Sun, Sea and Swell

My home on a beautiful still evening

So during the brief interlude of my lack of bloggage alot has happended, as always! We have been open,closed, open and for today (and most likely tomorrow, and possibly Sunday) we have once again been closed. Not due to rain. Or really even wind, but swell! Strong winds north of us are whipping up a fair sized northerly swell which is disrupting us and visitors but hey the birds couldnt give a toss, its sunny! Recent firsts include the first Guillemot, Puffin, Eider and Rock Pipit eggs while Sandwich Terns aren't far off and Shags are laughing at the former species fashionably late start in comparison to theirs.

CRB the Shag looking shifty.

The first Guillemot egg which lasted circa 1 hour before Herring Gulls munched it.

Lone Guillemot looking vulnerable...

Notable species of late include the Med Gull which appeared and then disappeared, other lingering stuff like the odd Robin, Common Scoter, good Gannet passage and today a female Merlin and a stonking 203 Common Gulls in this evenings roost. Meanwhile breeders are now entering phase 2 of horn-mode: The nesting. Anyway its Friday and words are becoming evermore difficult as the beers increase.

The Med Gull put on a great show but the Black-headed Gulls weren't into hybridism.

Farnes Medley.

Boats arriving daily now, when weather permits that is!

Last few desperate male Eiders giving it the whole head cock..

Harsh realities of returning to land for the primarily oceanic Puffin. This one has been taken by a Peregrine, note the egg nears its ass.

Ladies Path shown here will soon by covered in thousands of terns...

Rock Pipit are having an early year with a nest containing 5 eggs already discovered, this pair were bsuy nest building.

6 Common Scoter chilling, illing and spilling behind Knoxes.

Brownsman and Zodiac Rib, getting intimate with Guillemot en masse.

Puffins innit.

Puffins mating on land (they usually do it on the sea).

Semi arty shot of Guillemot and Razorbill.

Inner Farne looking rare. The calm before the swell.

These Eiders can cope with all the recent swell no worries